Settlement Requires Mississippi County to Clean Up Corrupted Voter Rolls
County must remove ineligible voters from rolls before 2016 election
(Alexandria, VA) – November 25. The Public Interest Legal Foundation has agreed to settle its federal lawsuit against the Clarke County Election Commission under terms that will require the Commission to start removing ineligible voters from its voter rolls prior to the 2016 Presidential election.
In July, Public Interest Legal sued the Commission in Mississippi because it has more voters on the rolls than living citizens. The lawsuit alleged a violation of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) in that the Commission failed to reasonably maintain the accuracy of its voter rolls.
The agreement between the parties was approved by the court Wednesday morning. The agreement requires the Commission to begin identifying and removing voters who are no longer eligible to vote in Clarke County as early as April 2016.
The plaintiff in the case is the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU), who originally notified the Commission by letter in June 2014 that its voter rolls were potentially in violation of federal election law. According to U.S. Census data and other public records, Clarke County, Mississippi had 12,646 registered voters, despite having a voting-age population of only 12,549. The Commission never responded to the notice letter.
The agreement also requires the Commission to periodically notify the ACRU in writing about the Commission’s efforts to clean up its voter rolls.
“Corrupted voter rolls have been a problem in Clarke County for years,” said J. Christian Adams, President and General Counsel of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. “This settlement is a positive step towards a cure and should give Mississippians confidence that their legitimate votes will not be cancelled out by an ineligible voter.”
The agreement in Clarke County is the first in the Public Interest Legal Foundation’s efforts to clean corrupted voter rolls around the nation ahead of the 2016 Presidential election. The Obama Justice Department has shut down enforcement of Section 8 of the NVRA and thus allowed voters rolls around the nation to remain corrupted and filled with ineligible registrations. A second lawsuit to force voter roll cleanup was filed earlier this month in Noxubee County, Mississippi.